BERGEN (Dagbladet): Brann Kvinner meets ALG Spor Turkey on Thursday in Serbia’s Subotica. The match was the first of three qualifying matches that could potentially reach the Champions League group stage.
At the same time, the Turkish team will not be the only opponent. It’s very hot in Serbia.
At the 5pm kick-off, it has been announced 36 degree heat, and a yellow warning for extreme heat has been issued. The match was also played in a completely enclosed stadium, so the players wouldn’t be able to expect a gust of cold wind either.
– We melted. It’s 38 degrees now. It’s very, very hot. “But it’s not surprising, we knew it was going to happen,” Brann coach Olli Harder said on the phone from Serbia.
Bergensavisen was the first to mention them demanding weather conditions.
– Difficult to prepare
The team had already gone south on Monday, and had endured several sessions in high temperatures. First in Hungary, and then in Serbia.
– It’s hard to prepare. Especially if we are from Bergen. “I haven’t seen the sun in Bergen for three months,” the New Zealand Firefighters coach continued.
Thursday’s match was the first in a mini-qualification tournament in the Serbian city. If Brann manages to beat Turkey in very hot weather, they will meet Spartak Subotica in next Sunday’s final.
– Very demanding
The winner of this match again advances to a new qualifying round, where the winner of that match is ready for the Champions League. Therefore Brann must win three games to qualify for the group stage.
– I hope today’s match will be very demanding. We will meet the Turkish champions this summer. “We want to win, but it remains to be seen which of the two teams can handle the conditions and pace,” said coach Brann.
He said that the team had trained well, and there was a good atmosphere among the players. At the same time, the team has had some injury problems. Among other things, midfielder Lisa Fjelstad Naalsund may have to sit on the bench, having picked up an injury before the EC.
– We had problems with some minor injuries, so it was frustrating, continued Harder.
React on time
The team took several precautions during their stay in Europe. The players take their temperature twice a day, and are weighed before and after the game.
– We focus on two things, fluids and cooling, says firefighter Christian Redisch.
In the changing room, there are two lockers. It is filled with cold water and ice. In addition, towels are dipped in ice water, so the players can cool off during the game. Brann initially requested two breaks in each half, but UEFA only granted one.
He basically believed that it was wise to put on a match tonight, but reacted to the timing of the game.
– What we are asking is why the match is played at 5pm, probably the hottest time of the day? Why can’t it be played at 19:00 or 20:00? But we don’t mind this, and it’s impossible to do anything about it anyway, Redisch said.
The fire doctor also said that the players are in good spirits, and so far no one has complained about the temperature.
Wishing Bergen weather on Sunday
Thursday’s hot game could easily be played in 16 degrees in Bergen. Both Brann and Spartak Subotica wanted to organize the group stage, but after the vote, Serbia won.
– Is it very disappointing that you lost that match, now that the conditions there are so demanding?
– It was a process, we didn’t win the process. This is an opportunity for us to experience European football at the highest level. “Heat is an additional obstacle that we have to work on,” replied coach Brann Harder.
Firefighter doctor Redisch said the team were crossing their fingers for a win tonight, so they can face the Serbian team in the rain on Sunday.
– Then we wish Bergen the right weather.
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